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Changes to legislation ‘a must’


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BARBADOS’ FINANCIAL SECTOR and its reputation will suffer negative consequences if legislative shortcomings are not resolved ahead of a key regional meeting this month.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, Senator Kay McConney, made that clear yesterday and said this was why Government was amending several laws related to the financial industry.

She was speaking in the Senate as she led off a cognate debate on changes to The Charities Act, Companies Act, Corporate Trust Services Act, Financial Services Commission Act, and Money Laundering and Financing Of Terrorism Prevention And Control Act.

“These bills are related because they all address Barbados’ need to raise to acceptable international standards and to better practices, our laws, our regulations and other measures that pertain to money laundering, funding terrorism and other nefarious activities,” the minister said.

“Our action as a country, or failure to act, will impact not only the perceived integrity of our local financial system, but our regional and our global relationships with banks, with insurance companies . . . and other countries that are operating in the same shared financial space.

“The potential fallout then for businesses and individuals of this country alike could be significant should we choose not to act at this stage.”

McConney added that “simple transactions like wiring and transferring money, and receiving money for business transactions, even opening a bank account, could become increasingly cumbersome if our financial jurisdiction here in Barbados is considered suspect or uncooperative in seeking to improve the environment for financial management”.

She noted that when the financial system was assessed in 2016, it received a “very poor” ranking for many of the areas related to money laundering and terrorism financing.

“Barbados is required at the end of May to report to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force on the progress we have made with regards to making the legislative changes and other adjustments that we were required to make,” McConney told the Senate. ( SC)